Super Mario Maker Review

  • Publisher:  Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo EAD Group No. 4
  • MSRP: $59.99
  • Rated: E
  • Release Date: September 11th, 2015
  • Platform:  Wii U
  • Rating: ★★★★★

How many times have you played through a Mario game and thought, “I could make better levels than these!”?  How about after beating a Mario game, wishing there was still more to complete?  First off, you can not make better levels than Nintendo (at least most people will fall into this category, though this will vary).  The second part is at least more easily answered, as with Super Mario Maker you will have a near endless supply of Mario levels to conquer.  The real question becomes how well these two ideas meld together into one package.

In Super Mario Maker, we the gamers are the level designers.  There are a selection of preset Nintendo created levels to play through, but otherwise the game succeeds and fails with us.  Luckily, Nintendo went to great lengths to make sure everyone can get the most out of this package.  Creating your own levels can be easy and it can be difficult, it really just depends on what you are looking to create and the approach you take.  Starting off you have the beginning point and then the ending flag.  You can put the two ends as close or far away as you would like.  For the in between you will use the Wii U gamepad and stylus to flip through easy to navigate menus and drag items into place with the stylus.  It honestly could not be more simple than that.  Actually implementing elements into a fun and well thought out level is where the difficulty can creep in.

Anyone can throw enemies and bricks onto the screen to make a level, but that does not necessarily mean it is a good level.  One thing Nintendo tries to aid in this hurdle is by making the various pieces unlockable on a schedule.  You have to play with the pieces you have before you can move on and play with more.  Some may find this as annoying hand holding, but it really makes you learn step by step before you can call yourself a master.  At that rate, you may never become a master at creating levels, if you look through the user-created levels there are plenty of poorly designed courses, but at the same time there are plenty of ones that are innovative, fresh, and our favorite, challenging.

The best thing about Super Mario Maker is that if you are bad at making stages, it doesn’t matter.  If you have fun making stages, you have your own sandbox and can have a blast making something that appeals to you, even if no one online cares to play it.  If you do not have fun making stages, there are more than enough levels for you to go through and have a blast playing.  You may get some duds here and there, but on the majority you will have fun playing through the varied courses you can find which can range from short to long, easy to hard, and even have tributes to other Nintendo creations (and non-Nintendo characters with Sonic, Mega Man, and Pac-Man) thanks to Amiibo support that allows you to use a power-up mushroom to change into a guest character.

Super Mario Maker really has limitless potential when it comes to dreaming up and playing through some fantastic courses.  Typically are the courses going to play like they are straight out of the latest Nintendo made Mario title?  Probably not.  But with the creativity you will see pulsing through a good chunk of the user-created levels it does not have to be.  Super Mario Maker is its own creation that does not have to be like Nintendo’s normal designs.  This is our creation and can be whatever we want it to be.

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